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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Africa University graduates urged to create a better Africa

    June 18, 2019 / By Jeanette Dadzie, Africa University Marketing and Public Affairs Officer

    MUTARE, ZIMBABWE:  - Africa University President and Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa has challenged the graduates of the United Methodist-related institution to continue to be shining examples of their exemplary education and build a better Africa for the future.

    “Remember you are Africa’s future that we invested in today, the hope that your families have been holding tight to, the sacred seeds we have planted and expect to burst into divine and wondrous flowers,” Professor Furusa told the graduates. “Therefore, go forth and build an Africa that we all want and deserve to live in. In doing so, do not neglect your dreams, but keep your faith, affirm your dignity, be kind, caring and generous.”

    Professor Furusa was speaking at the 25th Graduation Ceremony where nearly 600 students from 22 African countries received their master’s and bachelor’s degrees during the commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at the campus in Old Mutare, Zimbabwe.

    He reminded the graduates that they were part of a special class, the Silver graduating class marking the 25th graduation ceremony. “Our alumni, whose ranks you are joining today, have gone on to take their place among the leaders, movers and shakers of this continent and the world and are reimagining our space in ways that we never thought possible.”

    Professor Furusa told them about Lillian Achom, a Ugandan Computer Information Systems graduate of 2011 who is revolutionizing the field of IT in her country and realigning the role that women play in the development of the IT sector in Africa through her start up Grade Score- an online platform geared towards evaluating students’ grade performance with the view of aligning their talents and passions with the programs they will eventually study when they enroll into university.

    Another shining Africa University graduate was Bishop Mande Muyombo who recently assumed the chair of the Africa University Board of Directors and is creating a legacy of peace, service and stewardship in his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    “Therefore, go in the knowledge that you are of Africa, and within you lies the hopes and dreams of a continent,” Furusa said.

    The graduating class had 526 graduates, 54.6% of whom are women, 27.6% international representing 22 African countries

    The class of 2019 also included Dr. Kenjiro Yamada who was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contributions to Africa University’s development.  He was instrumental in securing funding for the library on campus which is partly named in his honor.

    Dr. Yamada’s career spans almost five decades in Methodist education, including more than 30 years of leadership at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).  He told the graduates not to worry about financial gains.

    “Don’t chase the money. Let money chase you,” he said to a thunderous applause.

    The keynote address speaker,  Rev. Greg Bergquist, interim general secretary of GBHEM, called on the graduates to be grateful for the education they are receiving and to be loving and kind to all they meet in their endeavors. .

    The university has initiated a process to transform itself into a research-intensive institution; become a prominent center for Childhood and Child Rights Studies, Intellectual Property Studies, Malaria Research, Public Health, Theological Studies, Leadership and Governance, and Environmental Advocacy. The University is also expecting several innovations, technological solutions and engineering products from the I5Hub and Clinical Research Center.

    Africa University has also expanded its extension and community engagement work to include training and skills development for industry, government institutions and public service practitioners through the newly established Africa University Business Academy.

    In a bid to improve student life on campus, the university has finished the construction of a swimming pool that was seeded in love through funds donated by the Baltimore Washington Conference in honor of the former Africa University Board Chair, Bishop Marcus Matthews and his wife Barbara Matthews. The project is the first phase of the dream sports complex that is in development.

    Also, construction is underway on two state of the art buildings;  a new women’s hostel and student union building made possible by support of Highland Park United Methodist Conference. Both projects are expected to be completed by December this year, if not earlier.

    About Africa University: Africa University, a United Methodist-related institution, aspires to become a world class university for leadership development in Africa.


    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 91 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."